Kano Jigoro, the father of Judo, was a Japanese educator, athlete, and educator. Judo was the very first Japanese martial art to earn considerable international acclaim and the first to be recognized as an Olympic sport.
As we celebrate his 161st birthday, let’s look at the history behind this martial art form and how it came to be what it is today.
Young Kano moved to Tokyo with his father after his mother’s passing. His father spared no expense, and Kano had his English language instructor and was admitted to private schools. During adolescence, Kano was 1.57 m (5 ft 2 in) tall but weighed only 41kg (90 lb). He was constantly mistreated at school because of his height and intelligence.
He was bullied to the point that other students forced him out of the school buildings to beat him. He wanted to be stronger to protect himself. In 1874, he was sent to a European-run private school to strengthen his English and German skills.